According to a new poll, a majority of Americans who use social media say “life was better” before Facebook and other platforms existed, and one-fourth believe they are addicted.
The survey, conducted Oct. 8-9 by SocialSphere and Harvard pollster John Della Volpe among users of Facebook and Instagram, found that 64 percent say they believe “life was better” before social media. That includes 53 percent of social media users ages 16-27 and 68 percent of users ages 28 and up.
The poll involved 1,638 regular users of Facebook.
Della Volpe, the director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, said he got the idea for the survey while conducting a focus group with high school students. Della Volpe asked the students what they would change – if they could – to make their lives better.
“[A student] said, ‘Go back to life without Facebook’ – where you could just ride your bike and find some friends and not worry about missing out on those sorts of things,” Della Volpe said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe while unveiling the research.
NEW POLLING I conducted and shared w/ @Morning_Joe team on social media, #Facebook, #Instagram.— John Della Volpe (@dellavolpe) October 12, 2021
1) Nearly 2/3 of Americans who use platforms believe life was better without them.
2) 42% of #GenZ addicted, can't stop if they tried.
More than one-fourth (28 percent) of users of social media say they believe they’re “addicted” to social media, including 42 percent of 16-27-year-olds and one-fourth (24 percent) of those ages 28 and up.
Meanwhile, only 39 percent of social media users say they feel “informed” after using it. A total of 21 percent of users say they feel depressed, while another 21 percent say they feel alone. Twenty percent say they feel anxious, and another 20 percent say they feel like they’re missing out.
These negative emotions are more common among young people ages 16-27, in which feelings of depression (31 percent), being alone (38 percent), anxiousness (27 percent) and missing out (35 percent) are somewhat prominent.
5) Social media users recognize that it has a net negative effect on politics, the media, the country and how we think of ourselves.— John Della Volpe (@dellavolpe) October 12, 2021
6) About one-in-three Gen Zers say that Instagram negatively impacts their body image -- about twice as likely as everyone else.
Among young people who use Instagram, 40 percent say they feel like they’re missing out after using the platform. Another 40 percent say they feel like they’re alone.
A solid majority (65 percent) of Americans say they back “government regulation to protect children from social media platforms,” according to the survey. Twenty-one percent oppose such a proposal.
Photo courtesy: ©Sparrowstock
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.